“Eternity may be regarded as a negation as far as human finitude is concerned, but inasmuch as this finitude is always changing, becoming, that is, negating itself, what is really negative is the world itself and not the eternal. The eternal must be an absolute affirmation which our limited human understanding defines in negative terms. We must see the world in this affirmation, which is God’s way of seeing the world, seeing everything as part of the whole. ‘Living in the light of eternity’ cannot be anthing else.
“B. Jowett, translator of Plato, writed in his introduction to Timaeus: ‘Not only Buddhism, but Greek as well as Christian philosophy, shows that it is quite possible that the human mind should retain an enthusiasm for mere negations. … Eternity or the eternal is not merely the unlimited in time but the truest of all being, the most real of all realities, the moat certain of all knowledge, which we nevertheless only see through a glass darkly.’ The enthusiasm Jowett here refers to is not ‘for mere negations’. … What appears to be a mere negation from the logical point of view is really the is-ness of things.” ~D. T. Suzuki
Eternity as Negation
Why does Suzuki say that Eternity is a negation? That is because people who are used to think in terms of time see eternity as an infinite or unlimited amount of time. So in that sense, it is a negation of the limits of time. But that is only how it appears to those of us trapped in the illusion of time and space. In truth, eternity is not really a negation of time, but the status of a place where time does not and never has existed. That may sound like a negation of time, but it really is saying that eternity is reality, whereas the limits of time are the illusion, therefore it is time which is truly negative, not eternity.
I don’t quite see why Suzuki says that since the eternal must be an absolute affirmation, we humans must interpret that as negation. That may be true, I suppose, of the more materialistic ones, but if you awakened your spiritual faculties, you can see the eternal and the infinite in positive terms.
He is correct in saying that we must see the world in a positive way, as God sees it, which is as a part of the whole. What he doesn’t mention is that the physical world, indeed the entire universe of matter, is the fallen realm created by the Demiurge, not the true God. Yet we must still see it as part of the whole, part of the real, because it is part of God’s Divine Plan to reclaim the realm of matter and make it spirit again. So thinking in terms of infinity and eternity where there is no time, that transformation has already happened making this realm part of the realm of God.
Most Real Reality
Yes, the eternal and infinite is the most real of anything. Many ancient and modern spiritual teachers say it is the only thing that is real because it is eternity. That the temporary world is illusion simply because it is temporary. There are other ways in which it is an illusion, but being temporary is enough for them.
So what Suzuki and these mystics are al saying is that the eternal and infinite realm of spirit is the only real world. It is the world we can rely on to not change. It doesn’t age. There is no death or disease in the spiritual realm. There is no hunger because spirits feed only on light which is always abundant in that realm. So the most important lesson of the mystery schools is to let go of the temporary world of time and space and embrace the eternity of spirit, even if we can, at present, see it only as a negation of time and space rather than an affirmation of reality.